EASLEY — As part of the City of Easley’s continuing effort to revitalize the downtown area, city officials have announced they’re bringing back a popular event: The Main Street Challenge.
Beginning Sept. 1, The Main Street Challenge entered its third round of competition welcoming submissions from all area business — and would-be business — owners.
“We started the competition in 2015 but there wasn’t a winner,” said Lindsay Cunningham, City of Easley’s public information officer, marketing director and event coordinator. “We had winners in 2016, so this is what we’re considering our third time.”
According to Cunningham, the Main Street Challenge is both an entrepreneurial competition and a business opportunity for the downtown Easley area.
“This competition has been created for the purpose of generating additional retail occupancy in downtown Easley,” she said. “The challenge provides a means for not only local, area, and regional entrepreneurs to expand or relocate an existing business — but also an opportunity to launch a new business.”
Past winners include Merrill’s Pizza, Circa, the Fine Arts Center, Mid Town Music and the events venue, South and West.
Filing for the 2017 competition is open now and will run throughout the month of September.
“We haven’t had anyone apply yet, but we do have a running list of around 12 businesses that we’ve been corresponding with via email who were interested in the challenge,” said Cunningham. “Hopefully some of them will apply before the end of the month. It’d be great if we could get some restaurants in it this year.”
Cunningham stated that all concepts must be complete and submitted no later than Sept. 30, 2017.
“The Main Street Challenge committee will select winning entries to receive up to $1,000 in financial assistance for 12 consecutive months,” she said. “The award represents a potentially forgivable loan based on the recipient’s compliance with certain criteria.”
The payment is for business owners to put towards rent and start-up costs and winning applicants are required to open their business in a downtown location by April 1, 2018.
Eligible business concepts include new start-up businesses, an expansion and relocation of an existing location from outside the defined downtown area to within the defined downtown area or a significant expansion of an existing local business that would branch into an additional business concept that is physically separated from the current business location.
“The City of Easley has several goals associated with the Main Street Challenge including the recruitment, via financial support, of new business to diversify and enhance the existing downtown Easley business community and to increase traffic to the downtown area,” Cunningham said.
For complete rules to the contest, visit the Main street challenge webpage on the City of Easley website at www.cityofeasley.com.
Print applications can be obtained at Easley City Hall, 205 N. First St. during normal business hours.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.